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About the USA - Virtual Classroom
Newsletter for English Teachers

Back to School / Structure of U.S. Education
By late August, summertime will be winding down and vacations will be coming to an end in the U.S., signaling that back-to-school time is near. Approximately 56 million American children (grades K-12) will be heading back to school.

Education in the U.S. follows a pattern similar to that in many systems. Early childhood education is followed by primary school (called elementary school in the U.S., middle school, secondary school (high school), and then postsecondary (tertiary) education. Postsecondary education includes non-degree programs that lead to certificates and diplomas plus six degree levels: associate, bachelor, first professional, master, advanced intermediate, and research doctorate.

Ramadan 2010
Ramadan is the month in which Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, beginning with a simple word – iqra. For more than a billion Muslims around the world -- including some 2 to 7 million in North America -- Ramadan is a month of blessing marked by prayer, fasting, and charity.

Many of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims will observe the month of Ramadan in different ways, blending their own cultural customs with Islamic traditions of prayer and fasting. In the United States alone, Muslims come from more than 80 countries and represent a mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, ideological, social and economic groups.

Building a Mosque Near Ground Zero? A planned Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, New York, has sparked an increasingly impassioned controversy in the United States.

Literature and "The City"
Are you planning to teach “the city” in your classroom? You might want to consider the following classics in American literature:

The Beat Generation on “The City”
The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac (1950)
Howl by Allen Ginsberg (1956)
Naturalism in American Literature and the Inner-City Novel
Maggie, a Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane (1893)
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (1900)

In Focus: Ambassador Murphy's Heroes - Teachers
Our Ambassador Philip Murphy has introduced his heroes to the audiences during his town hall meetings. Ambassador Murphy believes that teachers are incredibly important.

In Focus: Art Exhibition in Berlin - Floodwall
Floodwall, a site-specific art installation from New Orleans composed of 380 drawers that artist Jana Napoli rescued from the debris of Hurricane Katrina, will be presented in Berlin from September 10th to October 15th. Publication: Pop Culture versus Real America
Pop Culture versus Real America - U.S. television and cinema promote images of Americans that are … well … wrong! Pop Culture versus Real America will contrast those pop culture images with profiles of real Americans in every walk of life.

International Blog Day: August 31
What Is a Blog? The term "blog" is the shortened form of "weblog" — a diary or journal on the Web. The "blogger" (or author) writes periodically about a certain topic of his or her choosing (personal experiences, thoughts, hobbies, political aspirations, etc.).


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Updated: August 30, 2010